As the rate of connectivity continues to grow, does your business have the Internet of Things Architecture in place to meet the demand?

The term Internet of Things (IoT) was first used by Kevin Ashton in 1999 in reference to uniquely identifiable objects and their representations in an Internet-like structure. In the most basic sense of the term as it’s used today, it’s the adding of Internet capability and connectivity to devices to facilitate communication among users and other devices.

As the rate of innovation in sensory technology and connected products has increased exponentially, our thirst to make products more intelligent, more interactive, and more connected has gained momentum over the past few years. With more and more IoT products and services emerging, architectures must be adaptable and flexible to extend to new requirements, capabilities, and features.

Achieving a high value

With a high-performing IoT ecosystem it is important to understand that true value is created not by individual smart components and devices, but by the combination from device to hub to cloud where big data analytics can take hold. No single piece of technology can enable IoT. The IoT’s true potential lies in deep collaboration and network connectivity.

Consequently, the success and derived value of IoT is with its architectural design. The right architectural framework will provide the blueprint to ensure proper integration across different verticals, systems, and products. Furthermore, it can bolster standardization and define the guidelines when implementing a new element to an IoT ecosystem.

The ability to develop a successful IoT architecture requires a well thought out plan to ensure the architecture can be standardized for different devices, use cases, and technology. Overall, you’ll need to consider the following as you start to build out your own architecture:

Platform

The selection of a tools platform is crucial to perpetuate differentiation. The use of open source software with in-house development can be a unique advantage to foster development cycles and support overall stability. The most effective environments are suited for development, deployment, and staging. The level of interoperability and integration towards all new things must be present.

Management

Device and data management refers to the integration of the data received by defining:

  • Which devices are connected to the system
  • What types of data is being collected
  • How it should be compartmentalized
  • How it communicates information in an intelligent manner

This level of control over the devices that make up the system involves configuring each device based on some action or signal. You must also have the ability to change or modify a device’s behavior based on its level of interaction or its surroundings, and account for the manner in which data is collected and stored.

Computation and Calibration

The level of computation and calibration of the IoT architecture must be ubiquitous. The devices must act on their own and be adaptable to both sensing and collecting.

Additionally, the level of sophisticated context will help drive defining the action model, further advancing the calibrated variance given the time, location, and action taken. The rules defined will help the devices and services become more autonomous and encourage their ability to sense the environment and circumstances.

Data Collection and Analytics

Centralized data analytics and smart product management refers to the ability for each object or service to send the collected data back to the provider backend. This two-way communication can be executed using a push or pull strategy. This is typically based upon the number of devices, sensing frequency, network connectivity, and data upload regularity.

With the ability to absorb data and analyze it intelligently, this part of the architecture is the brains of the operation as the types of data to review and analyze will continue to evolve.

Security

Well-defined and specific security guidelines should encompass the complete architecture. Finding the appropriate security measures is always a tightrope as certain technical capabilities restrict us from using the highest and safest security measures. As innovation will always outpace security, an internal struggle between the two will exist and, almost always, a compromise will occur. Weighing security, cost, and business requirements can provide some direction in that regard.

The age of smart products is upon us, and with the passing of each day we get closer to full digital connectivity that will provide us with a better picture of the real world. As such, defining an IoT architecture that is highly connected, configurable, and extensible is your key to success. The right IoT technology, when working in sync and brought together holistically, has the power to maximize our real-world connections and experiences.